No effigy burning in city, part of cracker ban: Delhi govt
Even as the Delhi government gave its go-ahead for Dussehra and Durga Puja celebrations in the Capital with restrictions, senior environment department officials said effigy burning will not be allowed this year considering there is a complete cracker ban in the city.
A senior environment official on Thursday said the government had not announced any specific directions on effigy burning during Dussehra. However, since there is a blanket ban on cracker bursting, effigy burning will in effect be prohibited.
“While there is no specific ban for effigy burning, there is a prohibition on the use of crackers, which are part of the effigies,” said the official.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday decided to allow Ramlila, Dussehra and Durga Puja celebrations this year in public places but with a set of restrictions.
The DDMA said organisers will have to ensure that the number of people does not exceed the total number of seats in a venue, no stalls and fairs are set up, there is 100% mask compliance, and separate entry and exit points are provided for.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on September 15 announced a complete ban on the sale, storage and use of firecrackers in Delhi. He said that this decision was taken pre-emptively to control the spike in pollution levels during Diwali.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) notified this and said that the ban will continue till January 1, 2022.
Ramlila organisers, however, called the DDMA order an “eye wash”, which will lead to only around one-fifth of the committees that usually organise Ramlilas and Dussehra fairs in the Capital being able to organise festivities this year.
“The government has put the onus on us. With barely a month for the festive season, they have announced this decision, which leave little time for us to apply for permissions, arrange for actors and prepare for Ramlila. On top of this, there is an ambiguity on a lot of issues, and effigy burning is one of them,” said Rajesh Khanna, general secretary, Shri Ramlila Committee, which organises one of the oldest and largest Ramlilas in the national capital.
Many resident welfare associations and organisers also pointed out that several local celebrations will also be hit if effigy burning is not allowed in the city this Dussehra.
“What will be the point of Dussehra without effigy bursting? While we strongly support any decision that will control pollution levels in the city, the government should at least allow green crackers, so that our celebrations are not impacted. There are barely two weeks for festivities to start and we are still unsure of the guidelines, and this will leave us with no time to do anything,” said Anil Sharma of the RK Puram Ramlila Religious Committee.
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